Riding high: testing endurance and equipment in Colorado's San Juan Mountains

A story about searching for oxygen and making peace with hike-a-biking at 13,000 feet

Bikepacking the San Juan mountains in Colorado with Fjallraven
(Image credit: Andy Cochrane)

Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, just north of Durango, Colorado, lies the San Juan Mountains, a breathtaking playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Forged by volcanic activity and shaped by majestic glaciers, the San Juans are a labyrinth of snow-capped peaks, pristine alpine lakes, winding rivers and trails, and wildflower-strewn meadows.

Tucked away in the heart of this high alpine valley sits Opus Hut, a rustic mountain cabin that serves as a welcoming refuge for weary bikers, hikers and skiers. The hut sits at nearly 12,000 feet, and getting there requires tackling the rocky surface and grinding ascent up Ophir Pass road. 

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